‘Unofficial mayor of Jacksonville Beach’ remembered

Joyce’s life, legacy celebrated at ceremony


Sterling Joyce’s life was celebrated with a ceremony and toy drive at Seawalk Pavilion in Jacksonville Beach Dec. 15.

It was clear throughout the night of the impact Joyce made on others over the years and the lasting legacy he will continue to have even years after his death.

Joyce died Dec. 2, just a few days from his 72nd birthday.

One of the things he loved to do was to give back and one way he accomplished this was with his annual toy drive designed to provide a joyful Christmas to local children and their families through the Beaches Emergency Assistance Ministry.

“He would want us to carry on that tradition of caring for each other in our beach community,” BEAM Director of Development Gracie Simendinger said.

That tradition of giving continued in his honor and Joyce’s children, Tanya and Rod assured that it will continue for years to come.

They also informed the crowd on hand that they will be officially starting the Sterling Joyce Foundation to help preserve everything their father stood for.

“We had some good conversations before he passed away, and we’re going to continue his legacy,” Rob said. “Everyone knows him as someone with a big smile and who was always caring about others, but he was an even better father.”

Tanya Joyce heard several people ask her father over the years, how it is that so many people love him?

Sterling’s response was often “the best way to get people to love you is to love them back,” which is one of the things she will remember most about her father.

Former Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Jimmy Smith was on hand to remember Sterling, who had become a close friend to him over the years.

“The last four months Sterling started calling me every Monday,” Smith said, as he began to get emotional. “However, sometimes I was busy, and I didn’t always answer, and I wish now I could have those Mondays back. We need to remember to acknowledge the time that we have with the ones that we have.”

The emotions continued as a sampling of the fashion shows Joyce was accustomed to having as part of his fundraisers took place.

The show included two children who came out in their dresses and stood at the end of the stage and threw white rose pedals and candy into the crowd as a tribute to Joyce.

Jacksonville City Councilman Rory Diamond presented a framed proclamation to Joyce’s children that recognized their father’s compassion toward the communities at the beach throughout the years and the fact that he was known as the “unofficial mayor of Jacksonville Beach.”

[READ MORE: Everyone wanted a photo with Sterling Joyce.  Click here.]